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Procession of Bedells and Deputy Vice Chancellor into the Senate House

Under Statute B II 2, the M.A. degree may be conferred on Heads and Fellows of Colleges, University officers, and senior staff of the University Press or Cambridge Assessment if they are not already Cambridge graduates. Graduates of the Universities of Oxford or Dublin (Trinity College) may be admitted to the equivalent Cambridge degree instead of the M.A.

Degrees under Statute B II 2 are full degrees conferring the same rights as the equivalent degrees by examination, i.e. permanent membership of the Senate with its associated privileges and entitlement to submit work for other degrees such as the Ph.D. under Special Regulations or for Higher Doctorates such as the Litt.D. or Sc.D. They are not titular ‘honorary degrees’ (which are awarded by a different process).

Who is eligible?

In order to be eligible for an M.A. or other degree under Statute B II 2 and the relevant Ordinances, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Hold an established University office, or a qualifying post at Cambridge University Press or Cambridge Assessment, or a Headship or Fellowship of a College. In most cases you must have held an eligible post for at least three years.
  • Have reached the age of 24.
  • Have matriculated (registered) as a member of the University.
  • Not already hold a Cambridge degree conferring membership of the Senate (although in certain circumstances you may still be able to incorporate a higher degree at Oxford or Dublin).
  • Still hold an eligible post at the time the Grace is approved.
  • If incorporating an Oxford or Dublin (Trinity College) degree, provide the Reporter Editors with your Oxford or Dublin degree certificate (or a scan or photocopy). You can incorporate one degree only and it must have been conferred.

Professors, Readers, and other University officers: Professors and Readers are eligible immediately as they have been appointed to the retiring age with no probationary period. Other University officers are eligible after three years in post (which need not be continuous).

Heads and Fellows: Heads are eligible immediately on election. Fellows are eligible after three years in post (which need not be continuous). Honorary Fellows are not eligible.

Cambridge University Press & Assessment:  The Secretary of the Press and Assessment Syndicate, Directors, Associate Directors, Senior Editors and Senior Managers of the Press and Assessment Department are eligible, with applications made via the Chief Executive's office to confirm eligibility.    

Affiliated Lecturers, Research Associates, Senior Research Associates, and Computer Associates are not eligible. Although members of the Regent House under A III 7(e), they are not University officers.

Holders of Postgraduate Certificates or the B.Th., B.Ed., Mus.B., B.Chir. or M.B. degrees are not thereby members of the Senate, so may still be able to receive a degree under Statute B II 2 if they are otherwise eligible and do not hold any Cambridge Masters degree or Doctorate. Holders of the LL.B. degree may become members of the Senate by having it formally re-designated as an LL.M., however, and all holders of the B.A. are entitled to the M.A. once they have held the B.A. for the required period.

The process

Applicants should submit their details to the Reporter Office so their eligibility can be assessed (see Submit an Application). Once entitlement has been established, candidates need to confirm at which Congregation they wish to proceed to the degree and whether in person or in absence.

The Graces are published in the Reporter in the week before the Congregation at which they will be submitted. Once approved they are valid for twelve months, but it is usual to graduate at that Congregation, either in person or in absence (candidates must still be in a qualifying post when the Grace is approved).

Those graduating in absence will be sent their degree certificate after the Congregation. Candidates in person need to arrange the appropriate academical dress and if without College membership someone to present them (usually their Head of Department or a deputy). Except for Higher Doctorates by incorporation, College members are presented by the Praelector of their College.

Those without College membership will be sent information regarding the ceremony about a week before the event by the Congregations Team ( College members will be informed of arrangements by their College.


To be admitted to a full degree you must matriculate as a member of the University, which is for life unless revoked by a University Court for serious misconduct or by resignation (but resignation or retirement from employment is different and has no effect on membership of the University or degrees held).

When you apply, the Reporter Office will check to see if you have already matriculated. If not, a matriculation form will be requested from the Student Registry, and sent to your Department or College. A Grace for your degree cannot be submitted until the Student Registry confirms that you have matriculated, so it is very important that this is done in good time.

Please  submit a query here: University of Cambridge Student Registry Office ( if you have any further queries about Matriculation

Graduating in absence

As soon as a Grace has been published, submitted, and approved by a Congregation, the degree is conferred and a certificate will be sent to your Department or College in the post. Under no circumstances is it then possible to be admitted to it again in person later.

Graduating in person

You can be admitted at any Congregation, apart from 1 October, the Honorary Degree Congregation, or the four days of General Admission in June.

Please consult the dates and times of forthcoming Congregations to choose a suitable day.

Finding a presenter

The Reporter Office cannot put forward a Grace until it is clear that there will be someone to present you.

  • If you are a member of a College, the Praelector of that College should present you, regardless of whether your qualifying post is in the University or a College. Applications from College members should be made via their Praelector/Tutorial Office, so the Praelector should be expecting to present you. However, if they are not, please contact them to discuss this, as some Colleges do not present graduands at every Congregation.
  • If you are not a member of a College but hold a qualifying post within the Unified Administrative Service (UAS), the Registrary or a Deputy should present you. They will attend any Congregation regardless, so you do not need to contact a specific person.
  • If you are not a member of a College and hold a qualifying post outside the UAS, then your Head of Department, or the Chair or Secretary of the Board, Syndicate, Faculty Board, or other body under whose supervision you are working should present you and you need to confirm that they are ready to do so. If they are not available, any member of the Senate (i.e. a person either on the Roll of the Regent House or with a Cambridge Master’s degree or Doctorate) can present you on their behalf with their approval.

The only exceptions are incorporations to higher doctorates (D.D., LL.D., Med.Sc.D., Sc.D., Litt.D., and Mus.D.), or to the B.D. or the (new) M.D., or the Vet.M.D. or M.Chir. degrees, for which special arrangements apply; please seek advice from the Senior Esquire Bedell in these instances.

If you have any questions about finding a suitable presenter, please get in touch with the Degree Congregations Team.

On the day of graduation

Academical dress

There are strict requirements regarding dress at graduation, which both you and your presenter must observe. The University does not supply academical dress, so you need to obtain the items required and are responsible for dressing correctly.


  • Contrary to normal Cambridge procedures, candidates taking degrees under Statute B II 2 must wear the gown and hood of the Cambridge degree to which they are being admitted. Those being incorporated to Cambridge doctoral degrees must wear the hood and the black gown for the Cambridge doctorate, not the scarlet gown. Along with your gown and hood, you should follow the guidance for clothing available on our graduation pages.


  • Your presenter should wear the gown and hood of their highest Cambridge degree and must also wear a square cap. A presenter who is a member of the Regent House but has no Cambridge degree should wear a Cambridge M.A. gown without ‘strings’, a square cap and no hood. Presenters who are Cambridge Doctors wear the black gown of their degree with hood and square cap. Under no circumstances may presenters wear the dress of non-Cambridge degrees.
  • They should wear a dark suit or dress, dark socks/hosiery and black shoes, but they are not required to wear a white tie and bands.

Guests and timings

If you are being presented by your College with the College’s other graduands, please consult the Praelector about guests and timings. Your College will issue you with guest tickets.

If you are not being presented by a College, then your guest tickets will be issued by the Student Registry, and you will proceed to your degree at the start of a Congregation. Both you and your presenter should be at the Senate-House at least 20 minutes before the start time to meet the Esquire Bedells and the Marshal. Your guests should arrive no later than fifteen minutes before the starting time.

There is normally a limit of three tickets per graduand. Your guests should present these to gain admission to the Senate-House. If you require more tickets for a particular reason, please contact the Degree Congregations team to see if any further tickets can be made available. Friends and colleagues who are members of the Regent House or Senate can usually enter before the start of any session without tickets and sit on the front benches reserved for senior members at Congregations, provided that space is available, but they must wear the gown appropriate to their Cambridge status.

If your degree is being conferred at the start of the Congregation, you will be shown back to your seat and it is not possible for you or your guests to exit the Senate-House until the next break, which is usually between 30 and 45 minutes from the start of the session. Candidates presented by a College will leave the Senate-House immediately after receiving their degree certificate, and wait with their Praelector in the Senate-House Yard until their guests emerge.

The Senior Esquire Bedell, Karen Ottewell, can answer any queries you may have on the procedure; she can arrange a rehearsal for you (and your presenter) if required. If you have more general questions about the process, timings, or tickets you should contact the Degree Congregations team.